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Realist artists depict Hanoi life

A painting by artist Pham Binh Chuong depicting a corner of Hanoi’s Old Quarter in the gentle light of the morning is among the realist paintings now displayed in Hanoi at the Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum.

VietNamNet Bridge – A painting by artist Pham Binh Chuong depicting a corner of Hanoi’s Old Quarter in the gentle light of the morning is among the realist paintings now displayed in Hanoi at the Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum.

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Cho Pho (Market in the Old Quarter) by Pham Binh Chuong.


The exhibition, organised by Hien Thuc (Realism) Group of artists, gathers 35 paintings. They range in medium from oil on canvas and lacquer to watercolour on silk, but they share a common sensibility and commitment to portraying life as it is.  

Chuong is among a few contemporary artists painting the streets of Hanoi in a realist style. His work evokes memories of the city as it was years ago.

In this exhibition, Chuong introduced his painting Cho Pho (Market in the Old Quarter), in which he expresses love and nostalgia for Hanoi’s old streets.

“In an early morning of the last day of a lunar year, I walked along Dinh Liet Street and realised the beauty and tranquility of the street,” he said. "The first sunlight darts on old walls, making them brightly vivid. The sight is splendid and emotional to me."  

“I was born in the Old Quarter and have a strong attachment to the old roofs, corners and people here.”

“Everyday, people may not realise its beauty because the streets are always noisy and full of tourists and shops. But before the New Year’s Eve, the street becomes silent and peaceful. I want to preserve this moment and bring people a rare angle of the street that they hardly see on the ordinary days.”

Chuong said the exhibition is a chance for the artists to exchange, learn from each other and gradually build up a new art genre in Vietnamese contemporary fine arts.

All of the artists realistically describe life and people, but each has their own way of telling stories.

Le The Anh presents large paintings depicting the beauty of young ethnic women. His portraits are life-size.

Luu Tuyen tends to show the problems of the modern society through dolls in the series Reality of Perfection.

Through the doll, he paints the younger generation who will govern the world of the future with many complex feelings of powerlessness, loneliness and despair.

“I don’t paint what I see, I paint what I feel: feelings of fear, anxiety, and bewilderment inspire me to capture a reality that encapsulates larger issues such as war, climate change, pollution, epidemics and sexual abuse,” he said.

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Nep Thoi Gian (Trace of Time), a painting by Nguyen Van Toan.


Trinh Minh Tien is a leading hyper-realistic painter of Vietnam. He often painted on the base of photos allowing him to imagine, discover the structure of the world and find interesting way to express narratives. He painted on different materials like canvas, wood, and even automobile hoods.  In this exhibition he showcased the artwork “In God’s House”, painted on automobile hood describing shadow of a church blurred by rains.

The exhibition also gathers paintings of famous contemporary artists such as Phung Quoc Tri, Bui Hoai Mai, Bui Duy Khanh and Tran Viet Phu.

The exhibition will run until December 31 at the Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum, 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi. 

Source: VNS

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